_________________________________________________________ THIS TEXT HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT BY THE INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE ALLIANCE _________________________________________________________ Workshop on Italian Cooperatives October 1997 Source : Abstracts presented to the ICA Committee on Research Annual Conference The Co-op Advantage in Civil Economy, Bertinoro, Italy, October 1997 CO-OPERATIVE ENTERPRISES OF THE PROVINCE OF PISA Riccardo Bemi, Investigation Co-ordinator, Italy Target of the investigation : Many public and private bodies develop qualified activities to answer to the needs of the co-operative enterprises. Nevertheless, the great complexity of the actual social economic context makes necessary the enlargement and the qualitative improvement of the network of the services which are offered the co-operators. This is particularly important, above all for the co-operative movement which embodies managerial criterions especially entrepreneurial from one side and social purposes from the other one. Working procedures and contents of the investigation: The following kinds of investigation were made: Quantitative: census of the co-operative enterprises of the Province of Pisa by means of the collection and the following elaboration of the statistical information which are now available to the sources of public nature (Chamber of Commerce, Prefecture and Work Office); the fundamental structural characteristic of the co-operatives (location, limits of operativity, developed activities, operative units, central co-operative of belonging, juridical phase - effective or in conclusive phase). Qualitative: investigation of relevant economic social aspects of some typologies of co-operative enterprises (work, social and mixture co-operative) by means of brainstorming together with the executives of the local Chambers of Commerce and of all the bodies representative which are present in the territory and a personal interview structured on a sample of 25 units; some subjects regarding the innovative and managerial processes (co-operative nature of the entrepreneurial structures, establishment and Results achieved : Firstly, a general reading and a detailed analysis of the expressed and hidden needs of the co-operative enterprises of the sample in an economic-entrepreneurial view. Secondly, an "institutional" reading of the needs with a prefiguration of the possible innovative services that can be achieved (in particular way, by the economic public bodies) and the connected possible organisational structures. General information : The Chamber of Commerce of Pisa gave an order for the investigation to In.Te.S.A. - Information Third Sector Acli (Company of investigation, training, information and consulting of Acli, specialised in social economy). In.Te.S.A made use of its investigators and of some collaborators of Consorzio Nazionale Solaris (Consortium of social and work co-operatives). The final report of investigation, about 100 pages, will be published next autumn. EVOLUTION OF CO-OPERATIVE INTEGRATION PATTERNS. ANALYSIS OF ONE CASE: MULTISECTORAL CO-OPERATION SYSTEM IN FAENZA. By Everardo Minardi (University of Bologna) and RicercAzione s.c.a.r.l. (Faenza) The research on financial and excellent organizational conditions to be on market induced co-operative enterprises, both in agricultural and manufacturer sector, to pursue vertical integration forms with monosectoral specialization, to which collated progressive weakening of enterprises relations, their own "social bases" and local economies, as well as the significant reduction of social participation spaces. Productive specialization and productive factors optimization due to following aggregations have been explained as essential conditions for enterprises success. Only by extending their ability of staying on market the enterprises can justify their own juridical and organizational difference. As a matter of fact, the cases in which this strategy met with success are not many. Otherwise, significant can result the analysis of some cases in which tendence to vertical integration of co-operative enterprises has been realized strengthening and differentiating forms and institutions of horizontal integration among the co-operative enterprises themselves, enlarging credit co-operation function and all forms of innovative co-operation, mostly represented by enterprises services co-operation and soci It has been thus possible to give rise to a system of enterprises which has not lost his own territorial and community reference, at the same time it has not enfeebled functions and institution control of the "social base" on enterprises themselves. With regard to what explained, we will present the case of co-operation envelopment in Faenza, with particular reference to co-operative enterprises which operate in national and international markets. RECIPROCITY AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE ACTION OF TWO FARMERS' COOPERATIVES. Giorgio Osti, Department of Human Science, University of Trieste The rural development theme has raised attention after the crisis of classical theories of social change (modernization and dependence theory) and after European Union has shown great concern to rural spaces instead of agricultural firms. New approach to rural development implies not only attention to economic growth problems but also to other importants matters: the capability of local people themselves to promote and manage the development, the protection of environment both as economic good and as sim In the paper the concept of reciprocity is specified and then used to explain territorial development. After that, the theoretical material is applied to two farmers cooperatives working in the Po delta, one in the venetian bank and the other in the Emilia-Romagna bank. Reciprocity comes out as foundation principle of cooperation and as a useful tool to understand strategies of two farmers' cooperatives. The so called "territorial strategy" (action towards local community) is not carried out; the two coo THE CO-OPERATIVE FIRM AND MARKET COMPETITION: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS. Dr Domenico Faccioli Co-ordinator, "Course in Co-operative Economics" University of Bologna, Italy The peculiar features of this kind of firm make it particularly suitable for markets which have deeply informative asymmetry. For this reason, the co-operative firm can represent an optimal synthesis between efficiency and services quality. Beyond this innovative role, we have to underline that the co-operatives are an important piece of the traditional branch. In the future, the co-operatives will often confront for profit firms both in the new and the traditional markets. So, the debate around the efficiency of the institutional shapes of firms will be more important. This work draws its inspiration from these comments and is a comparative research between the firms working in two industries, building trade and retail trade, where the presence of co-operatives is traditionally wide. We have worked by data recollected in two samples, the first is compound by balance sheets of co-operatives affiliated to Legacoop, the other is compound by balance sheets of for profit firms recollected in the biennial study realised by Mediobanca. These data are processed by techniques adapted to peculiar objectives of the co-operatives. The purpose of this work is to describe the conditions of the two competing groups of firms coming out from their most important account documents. Another aim of the work is to put in evidence the differences, if they exist, depending on the specific institutional shape. This research can also be considered as an attempt to verify the informative capacity of the balance sheet.